The Rabbit Back Literature Society by Pasi Ilmari Jaaskelainen

Only very special people are chosen by children's author Laura White to join 'The Society', an elite group of writers in the small town of Rabbit Back. Now a tenth member has been selected: Ella, literature teacher and possessor of beautifully curving lips. But soon Ella discovers that the Society is not what it seems. What is its mysterious ritual, 'The Game'? What explains the strange disappearance that occurs at Laura's winter party, in a whirlwind of snow? Why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves? Was there once another tenth member, before her? Slowly, disturbing secrets that had been buried come to light...

The The Rabbit Back Literature Society, which has been translated from its native Finnish into English for the first time, can only be described as twisty. This is a good thing, as the journey you take with the main character Ella Milana, leaves you constantly guessing, and just when you think you have it straight you are suddenly taken down another path.

There are many strands of storyline that fit together to make The Rabbit Back Literature Society such an interesting story. From the initial event that starts the book, the fact that the ending of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment has changed, has you questioning everything in a fashion that makes most mysteries seem quite flat in comparison.

The Rabbit Back Literature Society is a group that consists of nine authors, all of which have been groomed since children by the enigmatic Laura White, Rabbit Back’s most famous author and creator of the popular Creatureville stories. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Society and the authors are looked upon as better people simply because of their status as members of the Society. But how deep does this go and why do none of the members speak to each other now?

Ella Milana is currently working as a substitute teacher. She also wrote her thesis on the mythology of Creatureville and like all children growing up in Rabbit Back has always wished that she could become the tenth member of the illustrious society. So when she is offered the opportunity to find out more about the society and Laura White, she takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of what is really happening in Rabbit Back… But will madness lie in wait?

The Rabbit Back Literature Society deals with questions such as; Where do Stories come from? How well can you know someone? If you are constantly observing people does that distance you too much from reality? Can reality and books merge depending on the essence of the story?

I found this book very interesting. It did start slowly and it did take time for me to warm to the characters, but this was more like unwrapping a pass the parcel, the more you read the more you want to know what is at the very heart, under all the layers that are being revealed one at a time. With a large cast of characters and back stories to delve into this book will not leave you disappointed, but will hopefully leave you as surprised and satisfied as I felt upon finishing the story.

9/10 Interesting, multi-layered and constantly surprising.

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